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Young America and it's patented safety barrel

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This blog post is about a pretty scarce watch I once bought - Marion's Young America.

This 14 size watch must have been - telling by the name of the grade - marketed for boys and was not exactly very successful. Wonder if they screwed up the pricing again?

The movemnet was very dirty and jammed, so I decided to take it apart.

No wonder it would not start wound tight. The blak stripe on the side of the movement is rust from the cuvette pin, but that appears to have been dealt with already...

As for technical condition, this watch was not serviced very well, with some nearly-striped threads in balance bearings and balance cock screw and a failed attempt to move a banking pin, ending up with bending it instead.
Still, parts are in good condition, and plates still have most of their gloss.

These are all parts shown, but I should have disassembled the barrel...

Now it's fully disassembled. The watch has Marion's patent safety barrel, that consists of two halves of the barrel itself, an arbor and a gear.
The gear has a notch (arrow) that will engage with the barrel's tooth (other arrow) in one direction, and slide in the other. This was meant to ant as a 'safety pinion' and prevent damage in case the mainspring broke or was released in an uncontrolled way.
Be careful when inserting the mainspring - I'm pretty sure I bent the barrel with the winder doing so, but maybe it was already bent - I noticed when the mainspring was already in...
Of course that straightened up nicely...

Like I said - the balance bearings' threads barely engage. Someone wanted to screw them down very tight no doubt...

Be sure not to damage the click... This would be hard to get or replace...

Cannon pinion, motion works and dial...
The dial has two feet screwed down from top side and one pinned.
The pallet fork is steel and the watch has a Swiss lever, single roller escapement.

The watch starts with the cock just placed on top, not even screwed.
In this watch it's very difficult fo fit the hairspring under the center gear, so it's more convenient to place the balance first and then the cock, not the entire assembly together.
With a fine tweezer you'll insert the stud no problem, plenty of space.
the bezel has no notch for one of the screws and it might be a replacement (or there is an additional screw...).

The movement cleaned up beautifully and runs very well. Great to have one of these
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  1. Robert Gift's Avatar
    So interesting to see! Thank you for your close-up photos.
    What determines where the balance wheel "weight screws" are positioned?
  2. pmwas's Avatar
    Poise and timing. In an uncut balance it's less important than in cut balance, where by moving the screws towards or away from the cut, you alter temperature compensation as well.